Watching Sunday sports is usually something I find pleasure in. No talking heads, no politics really. All of it was blown apart last weekend, however, when an ExxonMobil advertisement flowed heavenly onto my TV screen. It is a spinoff on the old ExMo ad for Liquified Natural Gas banned in 2008 by the Advertising Standards Agency. Same white backdrop, same reassuring multicultural reportage from nice looking people, friendly intelligent reassuring fellow humans. The music was a bit more new-agey in the new ad if I can remember correctly. Well, never let it be said, that our American oil companies do not understand progress, even if it means repeating and repackaging the past. With first-quarter profits near $11 billion for 2011, one would think they could do better.
Instead of sinking money into creative marketing though ExxonMobil is moving heavily into the Alberta Canada Tar Sands Oil extraction business. ExMo has been up there for years, owning a huge 772 km pipeline, and now it seems they are expanding their PR campaign to teach Americans about the issue through their advertising clout, with these new ads. While building on the Tar Sands extraction, they sold the pipeline to another Texas company, Plains All-America Pipeline, in 2008 … and then something broke.
A few weeks back, on Friday, April 29 the Rainbow pipeline , now owned by Plains Midstream, in Alberta, Canada was discovered to be leaking from faulty welding. As of this time, the total amount on the ground is reported to be 4.5 million gallons. This is a huge oil spill from a 44 year old pipeline that goes from Northern Alberta through the Tar Sands extraction zone to Edmonton, Alberta.
The oil spill caused nausea in schoolchildren and schools were closed due the fumes. The damage to the larger ecosystem and wetlands is unknown. Plains Midstream has denied that the pipeline contains oil from the Tar Sands Extraction Zone in the Central North/East area of Alberta. Now, those Tar Sands are being vastly expanded to feed our oil-supply needs. Pipelines are being planned to crisscross the North American continent to bring this dirty oil from the Tar Sands to the lower 48 (see page 3 of this SEC filing.) Here in Oregon, the oil barons will be shipping huge South Korean made machinery up the Columbia River, to then be driven on huge specially built roads through Montana into Alberta.
And ExxonMobil is running the show. You will see the ads on TV. Chances are, that will be all the info that the corporate media presents on the Tar Sands extraction issue. Try to see through the white facade of those ExMo ads though, into the darkness spreading out from Alberta.